The New Jersey Devils are ending their partnership with NWHL counterpart, the Metropolitan Riveters, according to Hailey Salvian of The Athletic and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
The Devils joined forces with the Riveters in October 2017, the first NHL-NWHL partnership of its kind.
According to Kaplan, the Devils will continue to support women’s hockey but shift their focus to “grassroots initiatives that positively impact female youth hockey players in our area.”
Just one week ago, Buffalo Sabres owner Kim Pegula announced she was relinquishing control of the Buffalo Beauts, another one of the league’s five teams.
The landscape of women’s hockey is undergoing drastic changes right now. The CWHL officially closed its doors on May 1, leaving the U.S.-based NWHL as the lone women’s professional hockey league standing. Earlier this month, more than 200 of the world’s top women’s hockey players joined forces and announced their collective decision to “not play in ANY professional leagues in North America this season until we get the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves.”
The NHL’s stance, per commissioner Gary Bettman, has been that the league will not intervene with any existing women’s league.
“What we have said is, if there’s no opportunity for women to play professional hockey, then we would explore what would make sense or might be appropriate,” Bettman said during an appearance on Prime Time Sports in April, shortly after the CWHL announced it would be folding. “But by the same token, I didn’t want to be presumptuous or be even bully-like and say we’re going to start a league and put them out of business. I didn’t think that was appropriate.”